After years of chasing that elusive state of contentment by surrounding myself with things the world has to offer; I have come to realise that “happiness” in this aspect is artificial intelligence – fast to decrease, a continuous work-in-progress to stay happy, with more new things.
The things we acquire rapidly lose their shine and value because a new model, a new improved model to that one you just purchased but barely moments after you having left the store becomes an old model, one that is nearing obsolete; even though you were enticed to buy it because it was the latest.
Now, the ultimate has been launched, with many products adding the term “ultra” to them to give the air of exclusivity. Or the idea of the more you pay for the item; it must be good and will last forever. (1)
What about “Limited Edition”? You rush to buy it because there is that tag, “Limited Edition” tied with a product coupled with a meaningless number of limited to 10,000 pieces, etc? Just as you think and believe you have outsmarted, raced and beat nearly everyone else to get this priceless, limited edition item; the brand tweaks the product or launches it with a slight variant to the colour, and woohoo! Limited Edition 2 comes out! After that Limited Edition 3, 4, etc… So, how limited is “Limited Edition”?
Brands are in the business to sell and will not be limited to just a certain specified number if the product is selling well. It is a marketing angle.
Be warned: “Limited edition” is a way to entice you to part with more money for this item that you would otherwise wait for it to be on a discount sale. The final decision to part money from your wallet or bank account, including the use of credit cards; or otherwise (the reduction of your cash flow), is yours.
Can we put an expensive “price tag” or “Limited Edition” to friendship? True friendship? One that does not look at your status or the financial standing in high society or the number of properties, Rolls Royces, Bentleys, BMWs that you own, or the expensive restaurants that attract your palette.
If friendship has a price tag or “Limited Edition” to it; it’s value then lasts as long you are in a position to maintain your status. And this friendship comes with an attachment – it lasts as long as these friends can get something from you and vice versa. Barter trade friendship.
I would like to think of friendship as an acceptance of who you are as a person – no strings attached. Someone whom you can be comfortable with by just being yourself; someone who will be your friend even if it may chance a separation by time or distance….
While writing an article (2) for it to be included in the memoir of an old friend – the late Fr. John Gnanapiragasam (Fr John G.) (3); I kept thinking of a girl that I spent quite a lot of time with at a retreat for the CHOICE (4) team in the mid-1980s, with Fr. John G. as our spiritual adviser. She was the “baby” of the group, being the youngest. After 35 / 36 years, I had forgotten her name. But not her face. Not her full of life and smiles. Nor her simplicity and her innocence.
Then, I remembered seeing a name “Loraine” in a Whatsapp chat group – one gathering all the CHOICE graduates from CHOICE #1 onwards. Loraine looked somewhat like this person at the CHOICE retreat. Coincidentally. Loraine is also the cousin of my brother-in-law, Raymond Arnold.
I contacted Loraine and she told me that it was her sister, Sharon; that I was referring to. The floodgate of good memories opened wide open. Sharon resides in Germany. I am now in touch with Sharon. I think it was wonderful that we reconnected after all this time. Lasting impressions! Interesting to note that she met with my late sister, Jennifer; a few years ago.
In one of the posts on my Facebook page, I came across someone with the “Wambeck” surname. I had a classmate by the name of “Anselm Wambeck” when I was in La Salle Petaling Jaya (5) from Standard 1 (Year 1) to Standard 3. It turned out that this person who posted on my Facebook page is Anselm’s cousin and put me in touch with him. We reconnected again after over 50 years. Below, is a picture that Anselm sent me – it was a picture taken at a tea party in Assunta Primary School Hall, Petaling Jaya in 1966. We had just received the sacrament of First Holy Communion.
When I moved to La Salle Klang, I made new friends in Walter James Danker, Duncan La Brooy, Eddie Lim Swee Huat, Mak Weng Kit, Michael Lee Pillai and many more in the first few days. Walter was a prefect. On the first day (Monday) of school, I got 2 strokes of the rotan (6) from the headmaster, Bro Michael; because Walter reported me for not wearing a tie. No one told me that I was supposed to wear a tie on a Monday. Funnily, it didn’t occur to me why all the other boys were wearing a tie. Duh!
Martin Wong, and his younger brother, Jerome; became our neighbours when they move into a house just opposite ours. We used to play cowboys and Indians so often.
When we moved house to Jalan Ladang, Klang (7) (which was 300 metres away from school), Eddie Lim, Weng Kit & his brother, Weng Hoon; and a whole bunch of other schoolmates; were in our house almost everyday, playing badminton, hockey, football, table-tennis, etc. We also used to catch fighting spiders and keep them in matchboxes.
Years after we left school, something like around 50 years or so; we had a gathering of our batch of guys. Many of our teachers attended, too. All our teachers knew us by name. They were and still are sharp. It was an incredible turnout.
The incredible turnout of schoolmates and teachers. The teachers are in the front row. Everyone had awesome stories of their lives over the 50 years. I’d have to write a series of books to capture everyone’s stories.
Our best friends include family. Irreplaceable!
- The Rolls Royce and Bentley graveyard in Bandar Sunway
- “Fr John Gnanapiragasam – As I know him”, Roman Catholic priest, https://leatherpotato.com/2021/11/26/fr-john-gnanapiragasam-as-i-know-him/
- Passed away November 19, 2021
- CHOICE is a Catholic programme for single adults.
- Petaling Jaya, a town in Selangor, Ma;aysia.
- “Rotan” is cane in Malay.
- Klang, a town in Selangor, Malaysia.
- Luisa Salva is a very talented singer. Please help make this video of her and her other works viral.
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